One of the wonders of modern marketing is the ability to measure the performance of your marketing campaigns across all the channels that you use. This allows you to prove the value of marketing as well as continually improve marketing performance. Google Analytics can be used to measure the response rates of your offline channels like direct mail and out of home signage by customizing the URLs used to drive traffic to your website.
As described in the blog post Analytics Help Chart Your Marketing Course, you can get great actionable information just by installing analytics on your website. But by getting more sophisticated with Google Analytics you can answer questions like:
- Which of our campaigns are driving traffic to our website?
- How effective is each step of our integrated cross-media campaign? How many people responded to the direct mail, the emails, and the social media posts?
- Which is more effective, social media or email marketing?
- How can we see what is working and what isn’t?
Now that you have Google Analytics running on your website you can answer questions like these by adding “link tags” to your campaign URLs.
Link tagging allows you to measure the performance of each campaign and each marketing channel in each campaign and across all campaigns.
You can tell without question how social media is driving traffic to your website, how email marketing is performing, and the success of each campaign. You can test changes, allowing you to continually improve your marketing. You can quit spending money on channels that aren’t working, or work to improve performance.
You are no longer marketing in the dark.
View Your Campaigns
You can view all your campaigns by clicking on Campaigns under the Acquisition tab in Google Analytics. This shows visitor sessions over time as well as a bar chart that shows where the traffic came from.
You can select a bar chart view by clicking on the icon indicated by the arrow.
View Traffic From a Single Campaign
Here are the details you get when drilling into a single campaign. When viewing a single campaign you can see the detailed Source and Medium that drove traffic to your website.
In this case we see that email marketing drove the most traffic, LinkedIn generated the second most traffic.
View the Traffic Source
Source shows which detailed sources are driving traffic to your website. The spikes in the timeline indicate this company is doing very short lived campaigns, such as an email newsletter approximately every six weeks.
In this example campaign traffic was pretty evenly split between ad’s purchased on another website coded dwf and the company’s email newsletters. Ads taken out in in the DWF Newsletter did not perform well.
View the Marketing Channels Sending Traffic
You can also see the results of each Medium, or marketing channel, that you use. You can see in this example that for this company email is the only channel that drove any significant campaign traffic to the website.
This company had just begun their social media efforts at the time this snap shot was taken.
View the Source of Traffic for a Particular Campaign
This short time, time bound campaign was limited to a couple of social media channels. Facebook generated three times the traffic as LinkedIn.
Even more important: who converts into customers? We will discuss goals, conversions, and funnels in a future blog post.
Once a culture of measuring performance takes hold, you will naturally find yourself spending less of your efforts and marketing dollars on “awareness” and “branding” campaigns that can’t directly be measured. There may still be a need for these campaigns, but expect them to consume less of your marketing budget over time.
What is Link Tagging?
Link tagging is adding extra information to the URLs, or hyperlink. Google Analytics uses these tags to show you exactly what is driving traffic to your website. This extra information does make the URL complicated and ugly, but there are ways to hide this.
Here’s an example of a URL with link tagging:
To get these benefits you need to add a campaign name, the medium used, and source. There is also an optional content tag. Google Analytics uses a term tag when tracking online advertising, but you can ignore this as it is handled automatically by advertising platforms like Google Adwords.
Here are the five tags you can use to measure your campaigns.
- Campaign name
- A marketing campaign is the theme that commonly spreads across multiple channels. It can be a specific campaign, such as “Summer Sale”, or be an ongoing marketing program, such as “Analytics_whitepaper”.
- The channel used to communicate the campaign message. “Email”, “display_ads”, “social_media”, and “radio” are examples of different mediums.
- This is more specific than the source where the visitor comes from. Examples include:
- Identify the social media channel, such as “Twitter”, “Facebook”, or “LinkedIn”.
- For ads in newsletters, websites, or magazines, identify the source with terms like “NW_Food_Processors_Assn” or “Sunset_mag”.
- If you are sending out a series of emails in a “drip” campaign, change the source for each email, something like “email01”, “email02”, etc. The campaign name and medium would stay the same.
- Identifies the version of something that compelled the visitor to take action. If you have an image and clickable text in an ad, you can tag the content as “image” or “text”. Knowing exactly what people are clicking on is very useful when deciding to do a redesign. The content tag can also be used for “A/B testing” to distinguish which versions is driving more traffic.
- This identifies the keywords used when buying online advertising. You can ignore it if you’re not buying online ads.
Adding this information to your URLs allows you to see what is working, what isn’t, and make changes to improve your marketing performance.
Be Consistent with Your Tag Terms
You need to be consistent with your terms to be able to measure campaign results. Capitalization matters. Avoid spaces, either use underscores “Winter_Sale” or camelcase like “WinterSale”. Google doesn’t care how you do it, just be consistent for each campaign and each term.
The easiest way to stay consistent is to create a spreadsheet that is used by all members of your marketing team. This serves as a common point of reference for your strategists, marketing creatives and technical specialists.
Create consistent UTM tags with the Moderno Campaign URL Builder. There’s both Google Drive and Microsoft Excel versions.